Why is Smoking Bad for Dental Health?

smoking effects on teeth

Why is Smoking Bad for Dental Health?

Although rates of smoking have decreased significantly, research from the CDC shows that 14 out of every 100 adults in the US still smoke cigarettes. Most of us are aware of the effect that smoking can have on overall health, but many don’t stop to think about the effects of smoking on your teeth. 

Why is smoking bad for dental health? 

Smoking tobacco leads to a buildup of plaque, which ultimately causes the gums to become infected. It also causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. Oxygen is necessary for infected gums to heal, so gums are not able to heal resulting in higher rates of gum disease. 

What are the effects of smoking on my dental health?

Here are some of the dental issues that smoking causes: 

  • Stained teeth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Tooth loss
  • Gum disease
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Plaque and tartar build-up 
  • Slow-healing wounds after dental extractions and other oral surgery
  • Increased risk of oral cancer

Why are my teeth stained?

One of the side effects of smoking is stained teeth due to the tar and nicotine found in cigarettes. Even short-term smoking can cause the teeth to yellow. People who have been smoking for years often have teeth that have become brown. 

How often should I visit my dentist?

It is very important that you follow your dentist’s advice. If you smoke, you may need to come in to see us more frequently. In addition to examining your teeth, we will check your cheeks, tongue and soft tissues in the mouth. Any cancerous changes in the mouth can be detected early by visiting your dentist regularly.

What is the risk of developing oral cancer?

About 90% of people with oral cancer—cancer of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat—use or have used tobacco. Smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop oral cancers.The risk of developing these cancers significantly increases with the amount of tobacco you have smoked in your life.  If you notice a sore that is not healing, or anything unusual in your mouth then you should contact your dentist or primary doctor right away. 

How can I quit smoking?

The nicotine in cigarettes is a highly addictive substance, so quitting isn’t easy. However, it is an important step in improving your oral and overall health. There are many different nicotine replacement therapy products (NRT) that can help you quit smoking, such as:

  • Chewing gum
  • Patches
  • Nasal sprays
  • Inhalers
  • Lozenges

There is no evidence that any one of these nicotine replacements is more effective than another. However, there is evidence that suggests that using a combination of nicotine replacement therapies is more effective than using just one. There are also support groups and apps that can help, so you’re not going it alone. 

The American Lung Association has provided a starting place for those who wish to quit but need the resources to make it happen. For more advice and on how to quit smoking, contact us or your doctor. 

Give Us a Call 

The effects of smoking on dental health are pretty clear, but we understand as much as you do that this highly addictive habit isn’t easy to kick. Yet with help, it is doable! Whether you smoke or not, our team at Prescott Dentistry wants to partner with you to ensure that your oral health is in optimal condition. Our friendly holistic dentists are committed to providing the highest level of dental care. Contact us today to learn more about our dental services and to schedule your visit with our dedicated team.


Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash